Archive for the Me talking about me Category
5
That day I got pampered at Novita Spa

Girl confession time: I’m not that into pampering.

I’ve had exactly 1 massage and 2 pedicures in my entire life, and that’s the extent of my pampering experience. It’s just not really my thing. Massages feel good I guess, if I can get over the small detail about a stranger touching me in almost all the places, and my toes look oh so pretty after a pedicure,if I can get over the fact that another human being is kneeling before me beautifying my horrid toes. But all in all, it’s just not something I have to go do.

That being said, if someone offers me an opportunity to get pampered, you better believe I will take them up on it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason the above three instances even occurred.

The lovely folks over at Novita Spa on the Square in Georgetown asked if I would take advantage of a special facial package they are offering exclusively for Spa Week, April 15 – 21, 2013: a 75 minute Bella Facial Package including their Spa Bella Facial, collagen eye treatment with photo light therapy, and heated hand treatment.

And then I was all, Oh, you know, I’m kinda bus–YES YES YES WHERE DO I SIGN WHEN CAN I COME HOW DO I GET THERE YES YES YES!

So I was on my way. ON my husband’s birthday, no less, but it was totally his idea.

novita spa on the square spa week

Georgetown is a little town outside of Austin with one of those quaint historic downtown squares that are ripe for strolling. Novita Spa is an oasis on the square, a unique experience that specializes in clinical skin care, with an emphasis on pampering. Since I’m not really that used to being pampered, I wasn’t sure what I was in for. Am I the only person on Earth who gets super anxious when she’s supposed to be relaxing?

The cozy, darkened hallway smelled of essential oils, with soothing zen-like music playing over hidden speakers. I was shown into a changing room where I could slip into something a little more comfortable.

Was I supposed to keep my underthings on? Go completely nude? I had no idea, and the lack of wi-fi signal prevented me from asking people who were likely more spa experienced than I (read: Twitter). But I have a feeling there’s no signal in that place. I was supposed to be unwiiiiiinding and relaaaaaaxing, not OMG I CAN’T TWEET MY QUESTIONS ABOUT UNDERWEAR!

spa flip flops novita spa on the square spa week

Before my facial I was invited to hang out in the steam room and sweat out all my worries. It took a little getting used to, but I eventually embraced the stifling heat and relaxed, pretending I was sitting outside while my kids swam in the dead of summer. Because let’s face it, mid-July in Texas isn’t that much cooler.

novita spa on the square spa week

Hanging out in the Serenity Room after I felt I had no more sweat to give in the steam room.

When it was time for my facial, Novita owner Megan DiMartino led me to a room for my procedure. She explained in detail the purpose of Novita Spa. Novita Spa is first and foremost a clinical establishment, focusing on skin care, skin therapy, massage, and more, but still ensuring that their clients feel pampered. I definitely did. Megan performed a 75 minute Bella Facial Package on me, which included the Spa Bella Facial, collagen eye treatment with photo light therapy, and heated hand treatment. She explained each step of the process, and since I don’t know all that much about skin care — my routine hasn’t changed that much since high school, I’m afraid to admit — a lot of it was news to me. She advised me on the importance of exfoliation, a step I have never really made a priority, and explained that most people are doing it all wrong. For example, I always thought that face washes with microbeads were good for exfoliating, but Megan explained that there are more steps to take, such as using a serum with salicylic acid or fruit enzymes.

After a few minutes of steam, heated hand treatments, and quiet time in which I’m pretty sure I fell asleep (no surprise there), the facial was over and it was time to get my makeup done. One of the employees matched me up with foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, and brow color from Novita’s own mineral makeup line. I think the last time I had my makeup done was before my wedding, y’all, and this girl did a much better job.

novita spa on the square spa week

And then my children burst through the door of the building, their shouts echoing throughout the high ceilings and shattering everyone’s sense of zen. Thus my day of pampering was at an end. But you still have a chance!

During Spa Week, Novita Spa is offering two different treatments for $50 each:

  • 75 Min Spring Renewal Body Package including Detox Steam Treatment, Salt Glo Body Polish and Satin Firming Toning Body Gel
  • 75 Min Bella Facial Package including Spa Bella Facial, Detox Steam Treatment, Collagen Eye Treatment with Photo Light Therapy, and Heated Hand Treatment

To view the special Spa Week offerings and to book your treatment, visit the Novita Spa page on spaweek.com. Now go get pampered!

 

I was given a complimentary 75 minute Bella Facial Package in exchange for this post. All other opinions and words and such are my own.

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6
See you at the finish line

running clothes

It’s Friday, almost 1 p.m. This time Saturday I’ll be a certified half marathon finisher. I hope.

I’m going through my usual pre-event ritual involving anxiety, crabbiness, and apparent apathy towards all things race related. I think I need to pack a bag since I’m spending the night. I should probably coordinate with my fellow ambassador Missy what time we’re heading out. I need to make sure my playlist is devoid of all songs that make me want to stab someone.

This is what I do before big events like this. Yes, this is only my second, but I had the exact same attitude before Tough Mudder — I just wanted it to be over. I told myself I didn’t really want to do it, and I just wanted to fast forward through the day so I wouldn’t have to make a fool of myself when I couldn’t complete the course without crying. In the end, I did cry a little bit — you would too if you got electrocuted — but my final memories of the event are that it was a blast. I hope the same goes for Saturday.

Right now I’m hydrating with more than just coffee, making sure I eat well, and trying to up my carbs just a smidge. I really don’t eat a lot of bread related carbs, so this is a conscious effort. Other than that, I have no clue if I am preparing in the correct fashion for race day. While I’ve followed a training plan, I’m kind of a winger, telling myself It’ll be fine. Self, don’t let me down now.

See you on the flip side….

 

In other ZOOMA related news, if you missed out on ZOOMA Texas, you can enter to win a trip for 2 to the ZOOMA Chicago half marathon and 10k! One grand-prize winner will receive a FREE trip for two to ZOOMA Chicago happening Saturday, August 10. Bring along your BRF (Best Running Friend) & experience a luxurious Chicago weekend getaway like no other. Airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, VIP race entries, Sherpani suitcase, Oiselle running apparel, Handful sports bra, and one year’s supply of FlexPower Performance & Recovery Cream? Seriously, enter now.

 

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23
Oh hey, 11 miles, YOU SUCK

I skipped my run today.

I didn’t mean to. I didn’t sleep well the night before, with a three year old kicking me for most of the wee morning hours. The big girls started their day arguing about a lost baby bunny. I usually try to turn on some Sesame Street for them so I can go run, but they demanded breakfast.

I got dressed in my running clothes, ate my peanut butter toast, put on my shoes, then completely broke down when I couldn’t find my armband. I’m talking Claire Danes ugly cry. I may be a wee bit tired. Or PMSing.

*********************

I had my last long run on Saturday, and only one word can describe it:

TOTALSUCKAGEOMGITWASAWFUL.

I have a confession: I don’t look forward to long runs. I prepare the  best way I know how, by fueling up with some food, hydrating, dressing in my most comfortable gear, and packing my nerdy little belt with Gu and energy chews. But the whole time I’m thinking I. Don’t Wanna!

Sometimes when I’m prepping for a run, I envision myself flying through it effortlessly. This is rarely the case. Actually, this is never the case.

Saturday I ran a trail that’s near my house. I don’t enjoy running on straightaways, because they never seem to end. I prefer neighborhoods where I can take twists and turns to make things interesting, but I needed a change of scenery, and I knew that a lot of Zooma was going to be on straightaways. My friend Lori runs the trail often and gave me a good starting point and turnarounds to squeeze in 11 miles.

My starting leg of 2 miles was downhill-ish, which was awesome because I was zooming and feeling all I believe I can fly! and stuff.  But then I had to turn around and head back to, and way past, my starting point. Oh, that longest leg had me cursing Lori every step of the way. It was uphill. Against the wind. It was humid. My clothes were sticking to me. I had to pee because I drank too much before starting. The bathroom had no toilet paper. And I was only 2.5 miles in.

Let me tell you, there is no pain like hitting the 2 mile mark and knowing you have 7, 8, 9, or more to go. It’s mentally the hardest part of my run. Once I get past it I’m usually fine and can tune out the mileage (this is what we call foreshadowing), but that 2 mile mark gets me every time, even when I’m not about to pee myself.

But I kept going.

Just before 5 miles I came to a grueling hill right before the next park. More like a ramp. Or MOUNTAIN. I knew it was there. I’d been on the trail before. But damn, and I mean DAMN. I couldn’t make it. I had to stop my first non-pee related stop. Then I stopped again at the park to get water and desperately chug a Gu because ENERGY! GIVE ME ENERGY!!! (Also the tri-berry flavor is mighty tasty.) I cursed everyone hanging out at the picnic tables on this nice day, eating hot dogs and birthday cake. Jerks.

But I kept going.

Then…I hit the wall. My legs were killing me. I had no energy left. My groin hurt (sorry y’all. Real stuff going on here).

I looked at my phone and saw the distance of only 7.34 miles, and I fell apart. I stopped and walked. I tried to tell myself to suck it up, you’ve done this before. But all I really wanted to do was sit on a nearby bench and cry, and then I’d be that girl on the trail who was crying while everyone warily kept their distance because who cries on a trail?

I started listening to the other voice in my head. Why are you doing this to yourself? What makes you think you can do this? You will never be a real runner. Real runners don’t feel pain like this. A real runner could fly through this shit. You suck. Now let’s blow this off and go steal some birthday cake from that 2 year old.

That other voice is a real asshole.

I was going to get to that 11 miles if it killed me, and by the way things were going, it likely would. So I reluctantly kept going.

I finally got back to my starting point and saw my amazing family cheering me on. But holy mother of God I still had a mile to go. So I passed them, and nothing sucks worse than having to pass your end point and come back. Rachel ran a few feet with me, insisting that we hold hands. Knowing that in passing them I would turn around and come back to them was the only thing that got me through that last mile.

And then…it was done.

My legs ached. My face was covered in dried sweat and dust. I hugged my kids and bitched to my husband about how hard it was.

But you did it, he said.

 

I’m pretty sure I left a part of my soul on that trail, and I can’t say it really got me pumped for Zooma. But I’ll be at the Hyatt Lost Pines on March 23rd, and I’ll cross that finish line making the ugliest, most torturous run face I have. It’ll take massive race day adrenaline and a good old fashioned miracle to get me through.

Who doesn’t love a good miracle?

I run 11 miles and she gets ice cream? That ain’t right.

 

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0
I was naive. So, so naive.

You know when you’re young and fresh and 18, heading out on that big adventure called college? Leaving home for the first time, we felt like we were making the leap into adulthood.

If only.

I’m reliving those days a bit over at Letters for Lucas, where Tonya has graciously asked me to share something for her Letters to You series. I decided to take a trip down memory lane and reach out to my young, naive (oh so naive!) freshman in college self. I’m not a huge fan of letters to our younger selves. I think they’re a bit overdone sometimes. But I found I had a lot to say to myself. Mainly, don’t accept that piggy back ride…

Go visit me at Tonya’s and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Letters For You Letters for Lucas

 

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6
Good runs, bad runs, and the ZOOMA Personal Best Program

So I think the last time I wrote about my ZOOMA Half Marathon training progress, I was a little discouraged, no? Well you all, including my fellow ambassadors, were all so nice and encouraging and group huggy, and it just warmed my cold, black, blergy heart. And you know what? I haven’t really had a terrible run since. I don’t know what was going on that day. Just a bad run, I guess.

Everyone had great words of encouragement, most notably to get the $115 shoes I had been fitted for, so that’s on the way, as well as some sexy compression socks I just got in the mail today. Boy did they feel good! Some also suggested jazzing up the playlist. Some offered to get together and run, some advised me to stretch more. My favorite comment was that my feeling discouraged meant I was a real runner, because I’m now “emotionally connected to this crazy sport.” Love it. In the end, there are a lot of you cheering me on to the finish line, and I love each and every one of you.

But you know what is really getting me motivated these days? It’s the women in our Muscle Milk Light Half Marathon Challenge. Four runners were chosen from a slew of applicants to take part in this program, and each was paired with an Ambassador as a mentor. I did NOT volunteer to be a mentor, because this being my first half marathon as well, I was afraid I wouldn’t have much support or knowledge to give. Plus we’ve already discussed that I’m a terrible mentor.

Let me tell you — these ladies are AWESOME. One of the biggest things that gets me out there to pound the pavement is seeing them all posting photos of their runs and their smiling faces as they reach new milestones. I know they may be hurting, or they may be unsure at times. But they are truly rocking this training. Giving up is not an option for them, so why should it be for me? These ladies are keeping me going, and I can’t wait to see them all cross the finish line. They’ve worked so hard. I truly hope that I’m chosen as an ambassador another year so I can coach someone through their training in a future challenge.

The truth is, there will be bad runs. But there will also be good runs. There will be painful runs, and then there will be runs where you feel like you could keep going forever. There will be runs where your music isn’t gelling with your mood, your earbuds won’t stay in, and your inner thighs keep trying to eat your shorts. But the most important thing is getting out there and running.

half marathon training zooma

Post 8 mile run. Yes, I wear mismatched clothes. Deal with it.

*******

Zooma personal best program

In order to further support women’s running, Zooma has started the ZOOMA Personal Best Program. The program will offer PR (which stands for Personal Record — totally had to google that) medals to all participants completing the distance for the first time or for beating a previous PR time set in the past 5 years. ZOOMA has really been a pioneer of new concepts and furthering the sport of women’s running, and this is no exception. They want to keep women’s running a serious sport, but make it fun too.

I know I can’t wait to get my medal at the finish line party, and I want to see you get one too! There’s still time to register for ZOOMA Texas at the gorgeous Hyatt Lost Pines in Bastrop on March 23! You can even save 10% by entering the code TXAMB5. Visit the ZOOMA website to register. See you there!

 

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57
Activities not meant for introverts

I am an introvert. It’s not uncommon for us online personalities. We flourish behind our keyboards, coming out of our shells on the screen as we type witty status updates, tweets, and thoughtful blog posts. I carry on virtual conversations with the best of them, but put me in front of someone, and I can barely form a coherent thought, much less a sentence.

But the reason we’re so good online is not necessarily because we’re shut ins whose pasty indoor skin practically glows in the light of day. It’s because there’s a delete key. A backspace. The opportunity to edit ourselves! Face to face, it’s a little harder to say, “Okay, that sounded inappropriate. Let me just go back and change that. Where is that thesaurus…..”

Also, no one is touching us.

There are things that classic introverts hate. I despise being in charge of something; I’m a good #2, but a terrible #1 (and I really prefer to be #3). The large crowds at Christmas make me anxious and stabby.  New situations and unfamiliar gatherings make me want to cancel at the last minute. I prefer to fly with a wing man.  And don’t get me started on the phone. I love my iPhone as long as I don’t have to actually talk on it. With 287 other ways to get a hold of me, I shouldn’t have to.

Networking. Door to door salesmen. Salesmen of any kind, really. Hosting parties. Hosting anything. And can I tell you how glad I am that I don’t have to date anymore? Gah, talk about excruciating.

And then there are those lesser known things that make an introvert squirm. At least this introvert.

Webcams

AKA  Let’s stare at each other awkwardly while we think of something to say!

I have the hardest time keeping a webcam conversation going. We frequently facetime or webcam with my husband’s family,and I love talking to them. But there’s just so much staring. So I disappear at the first chance I get. Also I’m ashamed to multitask while on the webcam. I know. How terrible that I have to give them my full attention?

Craigslist

YES! Someone answered my Craigslist ad!  Should they come to my house? Is it weird if I tell them to meet me somewhere? What if they see it and don’t like it in person? Should I take a special bag for them to put the money in so it doesn’t look like we’re doing a black market highchair deal? It’s best if I just tell them it’s no longer available.

I never know how to act with Craigslist transactions. It’s so personal sometimes. A couple expecting their first child bought our changing table, and I felt like I needed to coach them into this next phase of life. Is that your midwife? Nah, that’s the wacko who sold us our changing table on Craigslist.

Strippers

Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than a man dancing around to God awful techno music, wearing a goofy grin and waving his dong at my face. For money. Like, I feel bad if I don’t give him money, but then it’s all like, Ew, I just gave a grown man money for doing pelvic thrusts at me while I tried not to look, now where is the hand sanitizer? 

NO THANKS. The last time I saw a stripper (and God I hope it’s the last time) was at a bachelorette party with a friend who had a newborn (not with her, I think it’s important to note). When the stripper was accosting her, he was all, “OMG your boobs are HUGE!” Then he started motorboating her and she was all, “Uh, thanks. They’re full of milk.”

I gave him a dollar just to ease his embarrassment.

Pedicures

Yeah, I said it.

Ask a mom what she would do with an hour to herself, and 68% would say get a mani/pedi. First of all, that statistic is not accurate, as I made it up. Second of all, I have an hour to myself. You want me to sit in a chair, while a stranger kneels on the floor, washing my feet, filing my nails, and taking a hacksaw to my callouses? All the while trying to make awkward conversation? Sure, my toes look pretty, but that is an introvert’s worst nightmare!

Third of all, I don’t trust a mom who’s given an hour to herself and doesn’t take a nap.

Other Moms

All of the moms in both of the girls’ classes are lovely, really. But you’re just standing around, waiting for your kids to get out of class, exchanging polite smiles. I can never think of anything to say past the usual Hi, how are you, how was your weekend… But it’s kind of way weirder not to say anything at all. So I’m justified in embarrassing myself with awkward sounds coming out of my mouth that were meant to be words because we can’t all just stand here, can we???

I’m doing a similar dance with a neighbor mom. We don’t know each other, but our kids (her youngest is 8, my oldest are 4) have become besties through the back fence and are now begging to go to each other’s houses to play. Which means until I actually go and talk to her, we’re both doing a lot of Weeeeelllll, not today. Maybe another time. Soon. I promise.  Also I’m kind of convinced she hates me, since the two times I have ever seen her I happened to be yelling at my kids. Oh yes! Send your daughter right on over!

Being the center of attention

It could be my birthday. Graduation day. I could be accepting the Pulitzer Prize for blogging. Whatever it is, I don’t want a bunch of people standing around me smiling and nodding, telling me how great I am. I wanted to hide on my wedding day, not because I didn’t want to get married; I just wanted it to be over so life could go back to normal. When I got the acceptance letter for the 2012 Listen to Your Mother show, my first thought was, Oh shit. What have I done? 

Sure, introverts want accolades and recognition when we do something well. From the comfort of our own homes. In our jammies. Where we can hide if it gets to be too much.

Chuck E Cheese

Holy crap these places give me a seizure. The lights! The noises! The over stimulation! I pretty much want to crawl into a hole and die, not to mention the fact that we lose a kid every 2 minutes and have to hunt her down.

 

So the next time someone you know or maybe someone you just met abruptly takes their leave or  better yet, you didn’t even realize they escaped, cut them some slack. We don’t mean to be rude. We just need to need to go to a quiet place where we can calm our minds and reset. A place where we can feel comfortable. And a place devoid of loud noises, strippers, and people trying to give us a fresh coat of polish.

 

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12
Reading

Just finished: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The only reason I hung on throughout this book is because everyone (EVERYONE) said that the first half was a total snore, but if you could get through it, it got good, like REALLY good in the second half. And it did. But I actually have 25 pages to go, because after the meat of the story was done, it got boring again, and I’m just not that interested in finishing it. What so you think, should I give it a go? The movie showed up in my mailbox tonight, and I’m really psyched to ogle Daniel Craig watch it.

Currently reading: Bossypants by Tina Fey. I’m loving it.  Tina Fey’s intelligent and understated humor and sarcasm is woven effortlessly with her background and her input on being a female boss in a male driven world . She speaks my language. Only a much funnier dialect.

On my nightstand: I have a few books piled up to read, and my mom just hooked me up with even more over Thanksgiving. I definitely get my bookworminess from her. Plus I’m cheap, and who doesn’t love free books?

books on nightstand

Beyond that stack of books is a whooooooole lotta clutter.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). I was excited to get started on it until I found Bossypants for a steal at my local Half Price Books.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Comes highly recommended by anyone I know who has ever lifted a pencil. I can’t wait to dive in.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin. I do love a good historical novel, especially in the bawdy era of the late 18 and early 1900s. Water for Elephants is one of the best books I’ve ever read, so I’m really looking forward to this one, even though you don’t really think of a great book being written by someone named Melanie. [If your name is Melanie, I mean no offense. I'm sure you're lovely AND intelligent.]

The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman. I have no idea what this one’s about, but who can resist a summary that includes secrets, the Depression, and Appalacia? [Answer: Probably lots of people. But I'll give it a go.]

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Loyalties put to the test, truths laid bare, and lives put at risk??? Sold.

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child by Rex Forehand and Nicholas Long. Yeah…I read chapter one it’s sat on my nightstand ever since. Not because it wasn’t great info…but because it really takes effort to altar your parenting methods. It’s exhausting, really. But I haven’t given up on it, hence the fact that it’s still in my stack o’ books.

 

What are you reading?

 

Y’all should know those are all affiliate links. 

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18
So why DO I run? It’s complicated.

Oh, hey there. I’m just sitting here at my dining room table in my yoga pants, t-shirt, and running shoes. I should note that I have never touched a yoga mat, I don’t remember the last time I “dined” at this table, and well, I’m not being a very good runner lately.

I’m starting to think I may be in a little over my head with this whole half marathon thingamajig. Starting with the fact that I don’t really know where to start. A twitter pal suggested the Hal Higdon half marathon training guide, so I googled it (like just now googled it because I am on top of things). Here’s the first line:

THE HALF MARATHON IS A FRIENDLY DISTANCE.

Oh, Hal. It’s like you don’t even know me. Probably because you don’t. I mean we JUST met through the Googles like 2 minutes ago.

I’m wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this distance. I chose the half because it was either that or the 5K. Three miles wouldn’t be a challenge for me right now, other than trying to improve my time, but I’ve never timed myself running. I’m not really as concerned with getting the best time as I am completing the race, and the way it’s looking now, I am plenty concerned about finishing this race with all of my toes attached.

ZOOMA Texas training officially starts in January, but Imma have to start waaaaay before that in order to get this distance under my belt. Like last month. But don’t worry! I have a whole cabinet full of excuses as to why I’m not training as much as I should. In no particular order:

  • I have 3 small kids, 2 of whom are only in school 8 hours a week. A WEEK! The rest of the time they are hanging on my every yoga pant clad leg.
  • I have no more YMCA membership at which to drop off my 3rd appendage when her sisters are at school.
  • I have no treadmill.
  • It’s cold. Shut it, Northerners. 57 degrees IS cold.
  • I have no real plan. I need to treat it like I do my writing schedule, or my cleaning schedule, or my laundr–ok let’s stop right there. I don’t have any of those either.
  • The waistband of my compression pants keeps sliding down, putting those to my rear (hee hee!)(yes I’m 12) in grave danger of getting an eyeful. Crack is whack.

Yeah. So. Excuses, excuses, I KNOW. But seriously, what gives, compression pants? You get me through 12 miles of mud, water, and mud and crap out on me in your second performance? So lame.

But for real, I’m having trouble fitting running into my not-so-busy busy schedule. I know that the best time for me to do it is in the morning, mainly because I hate running at night, and it’s frowned upon to leave one’s children parked in front of ongoing episodes of My Little Pony on Netflix while one goes for a jaunt around the neighborhood. Also, that means I have to drag my stays-up-too-late-not-a-morning-person-but-hey-he’s-a-great-dad-and-all-around-hard-working-guy husband out of bed in the morning so he can tend to the short people while I get my run on. It’s not a huge deal, but it is a point of contention at times.

So why do I do it? Why did I commit to this event? Why not wait until next year when the big girls will be in kinder and Zoe will be in preschool a few days a week and I will rejoice in the silence!!! — I mean have a little more time to run?

  • It’s a challenge, and I do love a good challenge. I’m not your typical risk taker, but when I commit to something, I have a really hard time quitting. Like “drowning in work and kids and vomit but God as my witness I WILL DO THIS!!! type of hard time. That MAY be why I feel just a tad overextended sometimes. Possibly related: Learn how to say no to things that aren’t important. (But everything’s important! See???)
  • I’ve always been an athlete. I played some sort of team sport from age 6 up through high school, a little intramural in college, and co-ed softball 12 weeks into my twin pregnancy. Running is one of the ways I can keep my body in good working condition.
  • Speaking of keeping my body in good condition, I’m a newly crowned 34-year-old. Let’s face it — getting in shape or losing that baby weight that didn’t really come from the babies isn’t going to get any easier as I get older. Sources say it may, in fact, get harder.
  • I want my kids to lead active lifestyles. I want them to not only get involved in physical activity, but I want to take part with them. Kick the ball, play catch, run around the neighborhood. It starts with me (well, us really. My husband is pretty fit himself). I love it when they ask me about my “essercising.”
  • A friend of mine is running her 2nd half in January, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let her show me up. Ptew! (That was my spit sound. Spitting at her feet.)(Just kidding, girl, I love you.)
  • Running is pretty much the only time I have my thoughts to myself. And the only time I can listen to music that’s not on my kids’ Pandora station. Although I am partial to “Three is the magic Number.”

 

So now that I’ve at least acquainted myself with Hal Higdon, I plan on making some sort of plan. I plan on sucking it up. I plan on sacrificing precious warm bed sleepy time. I may not be a quitter, but I do have a bad habit of saying, “Meh. I’ll wing it,” when the going gets tough (hello, C in Physics for Non Majors!)(seriously, y’all, it was an open book course). Something tells me I canNOT wing 13.1 miles.

Maybe just the last 0.1?

 

Insert unflattering pre-run Instagram photo here. I have no idea why he’s flexing. He doesn’t normally do that in pictures. Key word being normally.

 

Speaking of ZOOMA Texas, have you registered yet? No? Well good. Because I have a code that will get you 10% off your registration fee! Just enter the code TXAMB5 upon checkout, and you’re set!

 

 

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14
Running: Not quite a love story, but whatever

I hit the pavement for the first time yesterday since completing the Austin Tough Mudder event. It’s amazing how fast 2 weeks can fly by when you’re not actively training for something. You keep telling yourself things like “Tonight!” and then when tonight comes it’s “Okay, tomorrow then…” and then tomorrow morning comes and since you don’t sleep more than an hour at a time, you’re all “Hahaha, yeah, right, snorrrrrrrre,” and then evening comes and there’s work and grocery shopping and fatigue and “Uhhhh, no.”

I keep having to remind myself that I completed “probably the toughest event on the planet.” I can do anything now! Single handedly carry in all those groceries? Pshaw. I carried logs in Tough Mudder, fool! Get the Halloween decorations out of the attic? Puh-lease. Your rickety ladder doesn’t scare this Tough Mudder. Take 3 kids to the pediatrician? Seriously? I’m a Tough Mudder! (Okay full disclosure, that one still scares me a little bit.)

 

My running history is a bit spotty. It all started in high school when we were required to run an 8 minute mile in order to ever see the volleyball court. I ran my butt off all summer before practices started and still only made it to 8:17 before I got cut in favor of those who were taller and looked better in Spandex shorts.

After years of running on and off I decided to run an 8k Turkey Trot race with my sister in law Michelle when we went to visit them in North Carolina for Thanksgiving in 2007. I ran and ran and ran to get up to the 5ish mile mark, and then…I got pregnant. With twins. And while I continued to exercise throughout my (high risk)(and painful) pregnancy, the race was off, and the gym membership was sadly cancelled shortly before the girls were born.

In the 4 and a half years since, I’ve continued to have an on again/off again romance with running. I tell myself just about every year that I’m going to run the Capital 10k, a wacky and fun annual race here in Austin, but I have never signed up. Turns out that’s one of the most important steps. And last year a handful of my friends and acquaintances finished 13.1 miles in the 3M Half Marathon before I had even finished my morning coffee. Show offs. But I realized once they were out there that I wanted to be a part of something like that too. I wanted to challenge myself.

 

History and fatigue be damned, I have to get back out there. Getting back into the workout zone for Tough Mudder felt so good after about 5 years of not being able to work out consistently, or at least not really wanting to. And it felt even better to see my hard work pay off as I was able to pull myself up over walls and climb over monstrous stacks of hay bales. It’s much easier to push myself when I have an event to work towards.

And that’s one of the very reasons I committed to running the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon in March 2013 at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Other reasons may or may not include that I am crazy, I am a lunatic, or I am a glutton for punishment. But whatever I am, I AM running that race. And not only am I running it, but I’m also an OFFICIAL ZOOMA RACE AMBASSADOR [booming announcer voice, caps lock, and implied importance all mine]. So you get to follow me on my journey through working my way up to 13.1 miles, which doesn’t really sound like that much, but then when I’m out on a 4 mile run and then think of having to run 9 more? I kinda want to puke.

The best part is that I won’t be doing it alone. We have a great lineup of ambassadors for this race, including my good friend and fellow blogger Missy. We’ve both determined that we are extremely slow, so there’s that.

Won’t you join us? You don’t have to be slow like us. You don’t have to be fast. Just BE at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa on Saturday, March 23, 2013 to run with us. Just take a tip from me and register before hand. It’ll be fun, I promise!

For more information on the ZOOMA Women’s Race series, visit zoomarun.com. I’ll see you there!
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45
Tough Mudder Austin: the course, the takeaway, and lots o’photos

Attention! Tough Mudder Austin recap! It’s long. But it’s also my birthday, so you kinda have to read it, right? Plus there’s pictures!

Well, I did it. 12 miles. 28 obstacles. Lots of mud. Lots of water.

And I loved every minute of it. Well, almost.

All jokes aside, I seriously did almost back out of this thing. I didn’t feel like I was training enough, and I envisioned myself being left in the dust by a bunch of elite athletes like my sister in law Michelle. I just didn’t want to do it. But then the old hubby gave me a pep talk, something about really wanting to do this with me, wanting to cross the finish line with me and say, “Hey — look what my wife and I did together.” Okay, fine, you win, you sap!

We could not have asked for a more beautiful October day in Austin for our event. What started out as a chilly day turned sunshiny and brilliant — not too hot, not too cool. We had 28 obstacles to complete, with 12 miles of running stretches in between. I’d love to go into each and every one in extreme detail, but this post is long enough, so hang in there for me and just envision lots of barbed wire, hills, crawling through tubes, and mud, okay?

The Course

I was pretty nervous coming into the event. I had the vision that I wasn’t trained enough for it, but once we got there I was pretty pumped. Ignorance is bliss, and I strangely wasn’t really apprehensive about the electroshock obstacles (uh, more on that in a minute), and really, how do you prepare yourself for things like JUMPING INTO A VAT OF ICE WATER?

The first well known and anxiety inducing obstacle was the Arctic Enema. Christian and his sister had experienced this one before, and their freaking outedness was freaking me out. They knew what to expect, and were still nervous about it. But our later start time gave us a slight advantage on this warmish day — there was no ice in the water, and the normally blue coloring (for effect) had been overtaken by mud.

But let me tell you this: you cannot fathom that kind of cold. I’m talking hyperventilating cold. I felt the thickness of the board we had to go under, maybe an inch or two, plugged my nose like a baby, and pushed myself under the surface. I came up gasping for air and screaming something along the lines of “Get me the f*ck out of here!” and reaching for some random fellow mudder who was standing at the edge pulling people out. So thanks, dude! (Side note: one of our teammates described the Artic Enema as “a refreshing dip.” He was not kidding. I think he’s a robot.)

I loved jumping off a 15 foot platform into the water on Walk the Plank, and surprised even myself that I was able to pull myself up and over the 8 foot Berlin Walls thanks to a boost from our guys. The walls ended up being some of my favorite obstacles.

tough mudder austin berlin walls

My arms disagree.

Tough Mudder battle scars bruises

Some logs, dark tubes, and cargo nets later, and we came upon the Electric Eel. The object: crawl through mud while live electrical wires dangle directly overhead.

This obstacle? Totally made me its bitch. When Christian and Michelle did the event last year in Virginia, they said that there were some pretty hot wires, but the rest were more like pin pricks. Well people must have been talking, because THAT WAS SO NOT THE CASE THIS TIME AROUND. My ass (literally MY ASS) got zapped all the way through this thing, but I kept trucking along, shouting expletives, straining to reach the end, only instead of being able to just crawl out, we had to heave ourselves up and over a wooden plank, fully exposing ourselves to the last line of wires.

I totally got stuck. I kept getting zapped and zapped, and each time my body went dead. Christian was finally able to pull me out, and I collapsed on the sidelines, where many a mudder passed by asking if I was okay (yay team!).

This was where I found my achilles heel, my fear. I couldn’t shake it — the intense trauma I felt from the past few minutes or the feeling of electricity still jolting through my body. I was a Sad Mudder.

And then I ate a banana and threw one of my gloves into the trash dumpster, so it was basically the WORST OBSTACLE EVER.

Dark Lightening, the mystery obstacle, was a big, low, white structure in which everyone was lining up to crawl in on their bellies as loud, rumbling thunder played over speakers. Darkness doesn’t bother me, and neither do confined spaces.

I lowered myself and pulled back the scrap of carpet that was covering the entrance. It revealed another scrap of carpet a few feet ahead.

I crawled, pulled back that scrap of carpet, and saw people belly crawling through the darkness, under row upon row of those damn electrical wires.

And that was when I completely lost my shit.

“I need out! I NEED OUT!” I screamed, and someone started pulling my feet and legs out of the box. I scrambled up and wandered aimlessly toward a volunteer and was finally able to stammer out that I needed to skip this one and seriously get me out of here lady or I will hurt someone. So then I just waited for my teammates like a little hurt puppy. GAH.

tough mudder austin

This is how pictures look when your waterproof camera gets dragged through the mud. Or maybe I’m still weepy from the anxiety of being electrocuted.

To make up for my wimpiness, I completely rocked the Mud Mile: trench after trench of pure muddy muck, separated by slick, muddy mounds. No wonder people duct tape their shoes for this event.

We crawled through more tunnels, carried some logs, I made it one bar across the monkey bars (I knew that would not be my obstacle), and climbed more, even higher Berlin Walls. Then I obtained my worst injuries in the obstacle known as Watch Out for That Random Stump, where I totally ate it trying to run around a group of slow ass dudes who were taking up the entire path.

It was getting late and we knew we were close to finishing.

“Just Everest and then the Electroshock Therapy,” Christian said.

tough mudder austin everest

Oh mah gah don’t drop me please.

I knew. I knew that Electroshock Therapy — running through a thousand or so hanging, live electrical wires — was the last obstacle in every Tough Mudder. But just the mere mention of it brought back all of the anxiety of the Electric Eel and Dark Lightening, and I immediately wanted to vomit.

[Insert major eyerolls here.]

“Just skip it,” everyone told me. No big deal. No harm done. You’ve come this far.

But I’ve come this far.

Here’s the thing. Most of these obstacles play on the fears that a lot of people have — water, heights, electricity, enclosed spaces. The object of the Tough Mudder challenge is to overcome those fears and cross that finish line knowing you faced them with a fierce “eff you” staredown. You get that orange headband knowing that you gave it your all. If I just walked around that last obstacle, I wouldn’t feel like I had really finished. I wouldn’t feel like I earned that damn headband.

So I went. I tore through that obstacle without even alerting my teammates, including my husband, that I was going. They all thought I was skipping it.

And honestly? I don’t even remember going. My mind is blank until I was face down in the mud from a ten thousand volt shock. I raised my head to see where I was, only to find the end of a wire mere inches from my face. I freaked out and started yelling for someone to get me out of there. Yes, please, volunteers line up to wade through the electricity to fish me out.

tough mudder electroshock therapy

Oh look. Leigh Ann’s on the ground. Again.

Suddenly, somewhere from Tough Mudder heaven, our teammate Stan was there. He showed me that I was actually situated in a break in the wires — they were in front and behind me, but not above me. I could actually stand up where I was.

“What do you want to do?” he asked. “Do you want to get out? Or do you want to go through?” I looked over to the sidelines, where Christian stood, motioning for me to exit the obstacle if I wanted. I looked ahead to the end, where Michelle stood, holding her arms out, encouraging me to just run to her. Like a baby taking its first steps. (Well, we got the baby part right.)

tough mudder electroshock therapy

Hooray for teammates that keep you going!

What do I want to do?

I was frozen. “Push me,” I told Stan. It was the only way my legs were going to get to courage to move again. “You’re just going to have to push me.”

“Do you want me to go with you?” Um, yeah, that might be a better idea than just shoving me into a mass of electricity. Stan is a genius!

So we grabbed hands and charged towards the end, where of course OF COURSE I got zapped again and ate mud. But I did it! I went through, we crossed the finish line as a team, and I let the lady at the finish line put that bright orange headband on my muddy head, grabbed my beer with my muddy hands, and congratulated my team with muddy hugs.

tough mudder austin

4 hours, 12 miles, 28 obstacles. Where’s the beer?

The Takeaway

I gotta tell you, I feel like a total badass since completing this event. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve always been pretty athletic, and I’ve been a runner on and off, but I’ve never physically and mentally challenged myself in this way.

Although the event was not easy in the least and I was ready to drop dead from exhaustion after the adrenaline wore off, it wasn’t as hard as I had made it out to be in my head. Looking at their website, one would think that you have to be some elite athlete to complete this course, but that’s just not the case. There were mudders of all shapes and sizes out there. Sure, you need a good amount of agility, strength, and athleticism if you really want to make it through most of the obstacles. But I surprised even myself. I pulled myself up over walls, I clung to tiny hand and foot holds to cross a waterway, and we probably ran 9 or 10 of those 12 miles. And we did it as a team.

tough mudder austin

See, the Tough Mudder experience is all about teamwork —  not just those on your team, but in the event as a whole. That’s what’s so cool about it. It’s great having your own teammates to depend on, but it’s awesome when you’re struggling and a stranger holds out their hand to help you up.

Or a mudder completes the monkey bars and starts coaching those in line on tips for getting across the loose bars.

Or a bunch of guys immediately lay on the ground to pull the cargo nets taut, making it easier for others to climb.

Or your own teammates, some you just met that very day, coming together to get each other through one of the toughest events on the planet, then sitting around a table, noshing on BBQ, and recounting the day’s obstacles one by one.

So now my bruises are fading, my scrapes are healing, and it no longer hurts to blink. My house guests are gone, it’s up to me to do the dishes and entertain my own kids, and no one at Costco gave me the Tough Mudder nod of recognition. WTF, do I have to wear my orange headband everywhere? Because I will, you know.

Would I do it again? I’m sure I will. This isn’t an event you only do once.

Besides. There are some electrical wires on my shit list.

tough mudder austin

Look what we did together.

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